UPDATE: 13 West Carter High School Students Face Charges Over Fake Threats

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 1/16/13 @ 6 p.m.
OLIVE HILL, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Six of the students who face criminal charges for false bomb and gun threats at West Carter High School have been detained and suspended from school, with the possibility of expulsion.

According to Olive Hill Police, all 13 students could face time in juvenile detention centers if convicted for their involvement or knowledge of the four separate threats this past week. On Wednesday, the school district held an assembly to inform students of the consequences of making a false threat, which is a Class D Felony under Kentucky law.

"It won't be tolerated, and they will be prosecuted," Olive Hill Police Chief Bobby Hall said.

Amy Oney, the mother of a middle school student in Carter County, said she worries the threats will result in students and police not taking a real emergency seriously.

"I'm just afraid that they're going to cry wolf so much that the one time that it really counts, they're not really going to care," Oney said.

Tony Lewis has a daughter in the high school, and he said this week's events are a concern.

"You send these kids to school and think you know they're going to be safe," Lewis said. "Then you get something like that bomb threat."

Police and school officials noted that cell phones caused additional trouble during the emergency lockdowns, as they can interfere with police radio communications. This week, use of cell phones also resulted in students relaying incorrect information to their parents via text message, Facebook and Twitter.

Robert Porter, West Carter High School's resource officer, said parents want their children to stay connected to them, especially in life-or-death situations, but the risks are greater than the benefits.

"Would you rather hear her last goodbyes or would you rather me be able to get an ambulance to her and hopefully save her in that golden hour and never have to hear her last goodbyes?" Porter said.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 1/16/13 @ 12 p.m.
OLIVE HILL, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Thirteen students at West Carter High School face criminal charges connected to recent false bomb and gun threats at school.

Olive Hill Police Chief Bobby Hall says six of the students face the more serious charge of felony terroristic threatening. All 13 students are juveniles.

Chief Hall says the students involved were discovered by the school's security camera system. The four unfounded threats happened this week and last week at the Carter County school.

Chief Hall says the consequences for making a threat are huge, even though the students are juveniles. If convicted, the students could face 45 to 120 days in a juvenile detention center depending on the charge.

Wednesday, the school district held a closed door meeting with students from both the middle school and high school to warn them about the consequences of making a false threat.

When a threat is discovered -- in the form of a note in these incidents -- the school goes into "lockdown" and police search the entire building. It is a process that can take nearly two hours.

"It's very taxing on our resources. We've had several officers out there every time this has happened -- fire department, EMS personnel, state police," said Hall.

Authorities are not allowed to release the names of the students since they are juveniles.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

Ironically it will be 20 years ago this Friday, January 18, 1993 when a then 17-year-old student at East Carter High School walked into an English classroom and shot and killed two people and then held a fellow student hostage for about 15 minutes before surrendering to police.

Gary Scott Pennington was later sentenced to life in prison without the possibly of parole for 25 years for the murders of teacher Deanna McDavid and custodian Marvin Hicks.

Pennington is currently serving the sentence in the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville

CARTER COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A lockdown has been lifted at West Carter High School after a threat was found in a text book.

Olive Hill Police Chief Bobby Hall tells WSAZ.com that the threat was written in the front of a text book with Thursday's date.

According to the Carter County Board of Education the threat indicated there was a weapon in a locker.

The school was placed on lockdown about 12:30 Thursday afternoon.

Chief Hall says officers conducted a sweep of the school, but did not find any weapons.

The lockdown was lifted about 1:30 p.m.

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